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Czech Republic to accept first Syrian refugees in October

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Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – The first Syrian families with ill children are to arrive in the Czech Republic in October to be treated in local hospitals by the end of the year, the Interior Ministry’s representatives told reporters Thursday.

Besides, the first 50 out of 400 Syrian refugees should arrive from refugee camps in Jordan at the turn of 2015, they added.

In January, the government decided to accept 15 families of Syrian refugees. The first group of children was originally selected to arrive in mid-2015. However, their security screening was halted due to the children’s health condition. Some of them were diagnosed with congenital genetic defects that could not be cured successfully.

This is why the Interior Ministry started selecting other candidates for medical treatment.

Deputy Interior Minister Jiri Novacek said 11 families had been listed so far. They must yet undergo a security screening, he noted.

During the final mission in Jordan in September, Czech doctors will examine the children and interview their parents.

After the arrival in the Czech Republic, the children will be treated in the Prague-Motol Teaching Hospital and their families will be adapting to to the new environment.

As from next year, they should be gradually integrated into society.

The Czech government agreed to accept 1,500 refugees (1,100 from Italy and Greece and 400 from refugee camps in the Middle East) by the end of 2017.

They all will first have to be granted asylum.

The Interior Ministry plans to accept the first group of refugees from the countries outside the EU.

They will come from two Middle East countries – Jordan as well as the new autonomous area of Kurdistan in northern Iraq, said Tomas Haisman, head of the Interior Ministry’s asylum and migration policy section.

Novacek said the refugees would also have to pass a security screening and be potentially capable of integrating into Czech society.

Quite small and complete families with young children will be preferred along with refugees with links to the Czech Republic, he added.

“We expect the first group of ten families or about 50 people to arrive in the Czech Republic at the end of the year,” said Novacek, adding that others should arrive quarterly then.

He also said a transit resettlement centre would be established in Jordan to prepare refugees for relocation. They should spend one to three months in this centre.

More detailed decisions on the resettlement of refugees from Italy and Greece will be made after it is formally approved in the EU, probably in October, Novacek said.

After their possible acceptance, the refugees will have a two-year deadline for resettlement.

“We cannot resettle them until the European Council decides about it and approves the date definitively,” Haisman said.

He noted that the Czech Republic would like to accept the number of refugees corresponding to the country’s possibilities.

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